Digital Dharma Endowment
The Digital Dharma Endowment was created to provide free content at the Himalayan Academy website.
A Message from Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami
Namaste, and welcome to our websites, which have been aptly called “where Hinduism meets the future.”
Google “Hindu” or “Hinduism” and our websites appear in the first ten results. If you leave out general information sites such as Wikipedia and the BBC, we are the top (or sometimes the second) site managed by actual Hindus. That—along with more than 100,000 visitors each month—are the clearest indications we have that our websites fulfill a real need for authentic information on Hinduism. And it is in part a result of your generous support through our Digital Dharma Drives over the past three years.
As you know, our Gurudeva, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, wanted all his spiritual teachings available for free on the Internet—no fees, no advertising, and only rare appeals for funds. It’s the model followed by Wikipedia, and it works. For three years running, you’ve responded generously, and after another year of working to enhance the site, we are back again with this appeal.
In our How the Funds Are Used page we detail what we did with your previous generous gifts and what we hope to accomplish next year. As you’ll read in the letter from our editor, Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami, we have yet to complete renovations to our Media Studio, the special space where all this work is done, so that remains as a project to be funded as part of this year’s drive.
Nowhere else will you find such a wealth of resources about our faith, carefully researched and compiled from across the globe. How important is it to you to have good resources on Hinduism online? How important is it that your friends and business associates, your children and their teachers, when doing a search about Hinduism, find a place that explains it from the inside, without academic bias, gross misconceptions or outright sensationalism?
Your contribution will go to the enhancement of the sites and the content, and to upgrading the Media Studio. The funds do not pay staff salaries or administrative overhead, since these sites are created and maintained by selfless monks who work for free and live simply in a remote monastery on the island of Kauai.
In keeping with Gurudeva’s vision that all major aspects of our work ultimately be supported by endowments, 10% of your tax-deductible contribution goes into the permanent Digital Dharma Drive Endowment, which now stands at $24,000 after three years of fundraising. As that endowment accumulates, it will provide an ever-increasing income for decades to come, protecting the digital future of Hinduism, your religious heritage.
Donate today, and improve our presentation of Hinduism to the world—for the benefit of this and future generations.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami
Guru Mahasannidhanam of Kauai Aadheenam
Publisher of Hinduism Today
General Plans for Your 2013-2014 Digital Dharma Drive Contributions
As you may know, we have spent the past year renovating the Media Studio, the circa 1959 facility in which the monks produce all of the books, magazine, art, websites, videos and teachings. We last made major improvements to the space 28 years ago, setting it up as a print shop, with two printing presses, a folder, a phototypesetter, process camera and light tables. In the nineties, we converted the space into a digital publications center using salvaged goods from a defunct hotel sale. It was a quaint space, with a priceless view, but weary and worn.
The publications building is just 100 feet from Kadavul Temple. Aside from being the nexus of the monastery's world outreach activities, it is a key place for hosting visitors. It was time to bring it into the 21st century, so we worked to gather a team. For the last year most of the work has been done by the monks and a task force of volunteers, rather than by costly hired carpenters (though there were some of those, too). We are even using our own lumber, milled from island trees, for the wooden elements. It has taken a lot of work and money. We plan to finish in the months ahead. Like last year, one half of each dollar from this year's Digital Dharma Drive will go to the Media Studio renovation and one half to ongoing web improvements, digital assets, ebooks and other projects. We hope you are inspired by all of this.
How Your Past Donations Were Used
Ebooks:We hired a firm in Chennai to convert many of our renowned publications on contemporary Hinduism to PDF, ePub (for iPad, iPhone, Nook and other devices) and Amazon Kindle formats. Almost 70 publications big and small, including Gurudeva's Master Course Trilogy, Lemurian Scrolls, Loving Ganesha, Yoga's Forgotten Foundation, The Guru Chronicles, our children's story books, our history lessons, Hinduism Today magazine issues and more are available for free on our new website and are slowly being added to the Apple iBookstore and Amazon Kindle Store.
Digital Dharma Library:Knowing that our previous website did not make finding our resources as easy and transparent as it should, we embarked upon a complete overhaul. First, the monks, starting in 2010, worked for a year to research, design and construct the database to hold all of our resources. Then we hired a programmer in Brazil to further refine the database and build the content management system that delivers pages, facilitating organization and access. Second, one of the world's best professional web design firms, Happy Cog, was contracted to craft a modern, more functional interface to the site that visitors will navigate easily through, accessing our thousands of resources: art, books, literature, audio and video files, and more. We launched the new site last December, and continual background technical improvements and visible content additions have ensued steadily since. This has been an enormous undertaking, and it's still not 100% complete.
Social site:Another firm was hired to help us implement and maintain a private social networking site to connect our Saiva Siddhanta Church members and Himalayan Academy students around the world.
Hinduism Today:A professional web contractor is hired to update the website of our international magazine with each quarter's new edition.
Miscellany:Funds were also used to purchase software and fonts that are used on the new website, iPads for developing delivery systems to mobile units, new computer network hardware to improve all the kulams' work in the monastery, web domain registration fees, online training resources, etc.
Supports and maintains the ancient Kumbhalavalai Ganesha Temple in Sri Lanka.
Supports the Pillaiyar shrine of the Murugan Temple of North America
Provides funds for Kauai Aadheenam’s Guru to provide gifts of religious items.